Google have partnered with LG once again to produce the next instalment of the Nexus series of Android smartphones. After the shockwave that the Nexus 4 caused by having high spec hardware for a budget price, Google has caught the public’s attention, especially developers and mod fans, but is this really the droid you’re looking for?
The Nexus 5 delivers an unassuming and possibly, some might say, plain exterior for the overall look of this powerhouse. When held in contention against the IPhone 5s or HTC one, it doesn’t really have much going for it based solely on looks. Granted, the main purpose of the Nexus is not to deliver the best looks but rather the most power, and it may be unfair to judge it against these much more expensive phones. The Nexus itself is 5.43 x 2.72 x 0.34 in, and is incredibly light due to the soft touch plastic that encases it. The screen is a massive 5 inches, all in stunning 1080p, with very little space being wasted with the bezel around the screen. The screen size may be too large for many to hold comfortably for one hand typing, the body is nice enough in your hand and with the weight that has been shed you barely realise you are carrying it at all. The Nexus 5 comes in black and white, and both look very nice indeed, although due to the soft touch back (with NEXUS emblazoned across it) even the cleanest of hands are likely to leave smudge marks, so the white may be a better choice for those who like their phones in out-of-the-box condition.
One of the main reasons you would think of buying a Nexus 5 over any other phone (apart from the obvious price tag) is for base Android 4.4 KitKat operating system, which is not held down by bloatware that some manufacturers install on their phones. KitKat is exclusive to the Nexus range at the moment, and the OS itself is a massive upgrade from Android Jelly Bean. While using the Nexus, I felt like everything I needed was right where I needed it, and that the overall experience was a lot more streamlined than previous iterations of Android. One thing I did notice (that many others have) is that with KitKat comes more Google. Text messaging is now under Hangouts, and from what I can tell it cannot be disabled without replacing it with another app from the Play Store. Other apps such as Google Now and Google plus are at the forefront of the system. Lesser known improvements include improved Caller ID, which will search Google when you are called by an unknown number, and help pinpoint where the call is from. Multitasking has also been improved, as well as a new immersion mode which, when playing games/reading books etc. fills your screen and removes unnecessary borders. These additional features really make Android a joy to use, and cannot wait for it to be released on other android devices.
The Nexus 5 boasts a Quad-core 2.3 GHz Krait 400 CPU and Qualcomm MSM8974 Snapdragon 800 processor, which when combined creates a smooth running system with very little load time. The Nexus 5 comes with either a 16GB or a 32GB internal hard drive, which cannot be expanded with external memory. Therefore if you have the choice I would recommend the 32GB, just so you are not concerned about running out of space. The Nexus has a decent set of speakers, one for when you are talking on the phone at the top, and one at the bottom which is next to the microphone. One problem I have with the Nexus however is its battery life. It is very unpredictable at times, and seems to lose charge almost instantly, even when nothing is running. Usually i’d expect to get at least a day or so out of a full charge, but on the Nexus I found it was becoming low by the end of the day. The battery charge aside, the speeds of which this phone is capable of is incredible, and previously stated, for the price you pay for the handset, is amazing value for money, and is a sure winner for any techie or gadget lover.
Finally onto the camera. The main lens on the back is an 8MP lens (encased in a rather large home than what is probably necessary) and the front camera is a 1.3MP. The front camera for me is a little small, but you can’t expect much more for £300. The main disappointment though is the main camera, which seems a little lacklustre. The images it produces are not particularly sharp or detailed, and it is hard to decide if it is the camera or the software. The images are not particularly colourful either, and usually you are left with a very monochrome image. That being said, there are many apps available on the Play store that can help boost images and make them look much nicer, so this is only a small fault.
Comparison with Max’s iPhone 5
I have been using the iPhone 5 as my main phone for around 12 months now, but within 3 days of using the Nexus 5 I have officially switched.
I’m not a stranger to android, owning various droid tablets and phones over the years. However, I always felt like android wasn’t quite there yet as an operating system. With Kit Kat and the Nexus 5, it does what I want it to do, just work.
The app selection has improved massively and the quality of apps is now on par with that of the Apple equivalent. Google Now surpasses Siri by leaps and bounds and I really didn’t realise how awesome Facebook Chat Heads were till I swapped back to my ageing iPhone.
Bad points? The built in speaker isn’t really that great, along with the camera quality, but there are fixes for that if you look online.
For £300, give the Nexus 5 a try. I am sure, like me, you will finally see how far android has come in such a short time.
Comparison to Andy’s HTC One:
Compared to the HTC one, Google have made serious steps to making the Nexus 5 the place to be for raw processing power, but when it comes to overall functionality the HTC is miles ahead. The speakers are much better, along with the the camera. The battery lasts much longer on the HTC. But that’s not to say the Nexus doesn’t have its place as a value smartphone.
Google, once again, have broken the stereotype that power and usability mean a high price. For what you pay for the Nexus 5, you get shed loads of processing power, a well-made and nice looking handset, and the first look at the future at Google’s Android operating system. Although there are issues with the battery life and the camera could have been better, I would be more than happy to pay the small fee for this technical masterpiece.
This phone was provided to us from Carphone Warehouse to review. However, we had full editorial freedom with this piece.